New Year’s Resolutions to consider after enduring 2020

Many of us approach each New Year’s Eve ready with eager resolutions and expectations. But when, according to research done by Strava,  the majority of us have already failed to keep our resolutions by January 12, maybe we’re trying to resolute the wrong things.

Universally, we’ve all experienced the difficulties of navigating the chaos of 2020. It has flipped our world upside down and, hopefully, provided us a clearer perspective on life. It’s been a season where the small pleasures of going on a hike or having dinner with a group of friends have suddenly become a luxury.

Of course, we all have dreams and aspirations that we should continue to pursue throughout the year. Over the past months, many of us have returned to the pastimes of picking up new skills like playing guitar, playing board games or enjoying a long talk on the phone with a family member. It’s caused us to realize the small joys and practices we have often forfeited for late nights at work and too much TV.

Most New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on big dreams and major life shifts. But while these are things we tend to pursue daily already, maybe it’s time to focus on the little things in life.

Here are nine simple but life-enriching resolutions to add to your list this year:

  1. Get outside daily. Stepping outdoors immediately impacts our perspective. According to researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, outdoor activities significantly impact our mental health and decrease stress and anxiety. While many of us have been cooped up during 2020, we could all get out a bit more.
  2. Put down the remote and pick up a book. Reading an actual paperbound book can, at times, seem like a thing of the past. With Kindles, iPads and Audible all at our fingertips, we can often forget the therapeutic pastime of reading a tangible book. A study presented to the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature found that adults who read a mystery in paperbound form instead of a Kindle had better retained a story’s chronology. 
  3. Reach out to those in need around you. Whether it be an elderly neighbor or a single mom, look at those around you who could use an extra hand. Make time this year to take an interest in others for the pure purpose of assisting those who may lack the help that we often take for granted.
  4. Try something new every week. Learn a new language, pick up a guitar, try a new recipe or finally begin that master’s class you’ve been thinking about trying. Challenge yourself to dive into experiences and explore even the small skills you might be curious to try.
  5. Clean your car or organize your closet. Even as quarantining normalizes, and we’re reacclimating to a new norm, make a habit of keeping things clean and in their place. Being organized naturally makes us less stressed, and cuts down on extra time decluttering when you have to clean up.
  6. Find someone to mentor you. We all need a mentor in our lives. Whether it be spiritually, vocationally or in life overall, find someone who can pour their wisdom and knowledge into you.
  7. Mentor someone. Commit your time this year to mentor someone. Just as we all need people in our lives who encourage us to grow continually, we should invest the same in others. It keeps our skills sharp and allows us to see outside of ourselves within our passions and vocation.
  8. Memorize scripture. There are simple practices some of us may have developed in our earliest years in the church, that we easily let go of later. Returning to the essential habit of memorizing scripture allows the word to be rooted in us. It enables us to ruminate on it in times of need and grow to understand the richness of God’s word further.
  9. Ask someone you’ve wanted to get to know out to coffee. Most of us have people in our lives who we want to get to know better. But we tend to wait for that person to reach out to us to ever hang out with them. Take the jump, and determine to reach out to those you are interested in developing a friendship with or learning from.

We all need a vision that compels us and dreams that drive us, but do we consider the significant impacts some small changes can have on our lives? Hopefully, this year has taught us the things that matter most.

While not all of us can say we’ve achieved the resolutions we set out to have in 2020, maybe in 2021, we can improve upon the areas that will enrich our lives and the lives of others.